Food and fuel prices push India's retail inflation in October

With spike in food, vegetable prices, retail inflation hits seven-month high

"We don't expect that the rise in inflation rate is sustainable; the average inflation should remain below 4 per cent for the current financial year".

The Retail Price Index (RPI), a separate measure of inflation, was 4% last month, up from 3.9% in September.

The overall food prices, as gauged by the Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI), rose to 1.90 per cent during the month under review from 1.25 per cent in September 2017. However, fruits were comparably cheaper in October on sequential basis.

Other notable categories such as cereals became dearer by 3.68 per cent and meat and fish recorded a rise of 3.12 per cent.

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The prices of food products, which have the highest weightage in the product basket that determines the inflation number, grew 2.26 per cent. "Similarly, the policymakers should check and address prices of products, including paddy, that are hovering at higher levels and are also of national importance", said Rawat.

But the increases were offset by the falling motor fuel and furniture prices and the costs of owner occupied housing. "Our quantitative analysis suggests that if (a big if) the GST tax changes are fully passed on to consumers, they would lower CPI inflation by estimated 20 basis points", Nomura said. Secondly, the GST Council has drastically cut the GST rates... that is likely to have a subduing effect on retail inflation in the coming months.

Retail inflation inched up to a seven-month high in October on the back of higher food, fuel and housing prices, dashing hopes of any cut in interest rates by RBI for now. "However, the RBI rate decision may still predicate on the Fed trajectory".

He added that continuous increase in petrol prices and that of high speed diesel due to rise in global crude oil prices must be taken care of by the policymakers since it may have an impact on the import bills and subsequent impact on exchange rates.

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